Interview with Jerome “Bus” Bettis and My Experience with Severe Allergy and Anaphylaxis

Growing up I knew about severe allergies and anaphylaxis right away, although I only suffered from environmental allergies and a mild egg intolerance or “pseudoallergy”, my mother and brother both had severe allergies to medicine and bee-stings and both had injectible medications in case of an emergency.

Another experience with severe allergies was when I nannied for a great family. Their sweet boy dealt with eczema, a mild milk allergy and a severe peanut allergy, life threatening in fact. While I nannied for the family, I was taught how to very careful to check labels, keeping especially anything made from peanuts, or made with machinery or in a factory that may have nut particles, out of reach and mostly out of the home in general.

Finally, after those experiences, not realizing or knowing that I was at risk, I experienced anaphylaxis first hand.

I went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant for the first time to celebrate a special occasion with some friends. All was going well, but as I continued to eat our first courses I started to feel a little warm and a lot “off”. Internally, I started to panic as I felt my mouth begin to tingle and itch and my throat followed suit. I though to myself, “maybe you are just overreacting.” I didn’t want to say anything or spoil the night, but I feared that if I didn’t there might be an emergency at foot.

I explained my situation to friends, who, one of which was by the Grace of God a volunteer EMT. We immediately left the restaurant to sit on the curb and he raced over to a nearby pharmacy only to bring back, and make me chug a bottle of over-the-counter allergy medicine. Luckily, after a few minutes I was feeling better, my throat stopped itching, but I was left pretty shaken up as I had never expected to have a severe reaction to food.

We tried to figure out what all I had eaten and concluded (without testing) that it was probably the ginger in the soup since that was the only food item I couldn’t remember eating before in my life.

I know you’ll probably be surprised when I tell you that was not my last visit to a Japanese hiachi grill, but since we thought I could just skip the soup, we figured it was safe. Little did we know that I would have another severe reaction, causing beginning stages of anaphylaxis requiring more over-the-counter allergy medicine.

After the reaction (my husband and I semi-discretely took care of the situation at hand), we thought we could go sit and celebrate our friend’s birthday, but I couldn’t even sit at the table or restaurant due to the vapors in the air. To this day I am still trying to determine whether I am allergic to the shrimp that I ate (I rarely eat seafood, but have a small reaction when cleaning it to cook for my husband) or the safflower oil they used at the hibachi grill, but I am sure to steer clear of both.

Other than that HUGE, almost life-changing experience I recognize how important it is to teach and learn about severe allergies and anaphylaxis. We have several friends who’s children suffer from severe food allergies, and our own daughters have environmental allergies, not to mention that we recently had an allergy blood test performed on Lil’ C that came back very borderline for peanut/milk allergy (which she has food aversions to anyway) and we know that certain bug bites/stings are severe reactions for Miss A, swelling to the size of baseballs or bigger and have medicine for her reactions.

Jerome Bettis Severe Allergy Anaphylaxis PlaybookIn my humble opinion, if you aren’t familiar with the causes, symptoms, likelihood, treatment of severe allergies and anaphylaxis you need to be, ESPECIALLY as a parent or caregiver.

Recently, I was able to submit some questions to football legend Jerome Bettis, aka The Bus, who lives with a severe allergy that puts him at risk for anaphylaxis. Joining forces with Auvi-Q™, he has created, The Severe Allergy & Anaphylaxis Playbook – a guide of valuable “plays” or tips to help people living with severe allergies, and their caregivers, avoid allergens and plan effectively in case of an emergency.

Check out this video for his answers to my questions, our experiences sound somewhat similar:

Make sure you check out and download your playbook here: and PLEASE tell a friend or share this post, it could save a life.

This post is not compensated in any way, rather an information post that I hope helps my readers and families who might see this post and video.